On March 21, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 107 (EO 107), which ordered all nonessential retail businesses to close their physical locations in New Jersey until further notice. Then on March 24, 2020, the state expanded the list of essential retail businesses whose physical locations are permitted to continue operating during their normal business hours. In accordance with Administrative Order No. 2020-6, signed by Patrick J. Callahan, State Director of Emergency Management, on March 24, 2020, the following is the list of essential retail businesses in accordance with paragraph 6 of EO 107:

  • Mobile phone retail and repair shops
  • Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair
  • Livestock feed stores
  • Nurseries and garden centers
  • Farming equipment stores
  • Grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store
  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries
  • Medical supply stores
  • Gas stations
  • Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities
  • Hardware and home improvement stores
  • Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years old
  • Pet stores and other veterinary service locations
  • Car dealerships, but only to provide auto maintenance and repair services
  • Auto mechanics
  • Printing and office supply shops
  • Mail and delivery stores
  • Liquor stores

While continuing to operate, these essential retail businesses must make “reasonable efforts to keep customers six feet apart and [encourage] frequent use of sanitizing products on common surfaces.” “Essential businesses must, wherever practicable, provide pickup services outside or adjacent to their stores for goods ordered in advance online or by phone.”

Any retail businesses not deemed “essential” must close their brick-and-mortar premises,” but they may continue to operate their “online and telephonic delivery services” to the extent they are licensed to do so.

This amendment does not alter EO 107’s directive that all businesses (and nonprofit organizations), whether closed or open to the public, must allow employees who can work remotely to do so. To the extent that such employees cannot perform functions remotely, businesses should operate with a minimal number of on-site employees to ensure that critical operations can continue, and they must follow best practices regarding social distancing.